After Unemployed Dad Saves Two Lives, NYC Vows To Find Him Job
It is only human nature: the more people who are watching a tragic scene, the less likely it is for any single person to help. That was the case last Friday morning, when Lawrence Bowers, 49, saw a figure floating face down in the water, with at least a hundred people watching, unmoved. Bowers jumped in, two weeks after saving a child from the same stormy surf.
Now New York Commissioner of Small Business Services Rob Walsh says that he is doing his best to find Bowers, an unemployed father of six, a job. He set Bowers up with the director of the city's career center, who helped him revise his resume, according to a center spokeswoman. She said Bowers has a few interviews lined up in the coming weeks.
When Bowers saw the man floating a stone's throw from the shore, he yanked off his shoes and socks without hesitation and jumped into the cold Atlantic. He raced against the currents, reports New York's Daily News. Bowers pounded through the waves, as the limp body floated out of his grasp. "I knew in my heart that if I didn't get to this man he could die," he said.
The man did not die. When Bowers was just a foot away, a rescue team arrived by helicopter to to pull the unresponsive 65-year-old man from the water and administer CPR. The man -- who reportedly had attempted suicide that warm June morning -- was hospitalized in serious condition. They rescuers took Bowers to the hospital too. "They thought I had fluid in my lungs," he said. "I was exhausted more than anything."
It wasn't Bowers first unplanned dip in the Coney Island waters. Only two weeks before, he had saved a child from the ocean after hearing the boy's mother cry out.
It is a psychological fact of man, that the more people who are watching a tragic scene, the less likely it is for any single person to help. But Commissioner Walsh saw that Bowers was struggling, too, and decided to throw him a lifeline.
Bowers has been unemployed since losing his job as a porter at MCU Park, the stadium of minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones. And he has six mouths to feed. Walsh put Bowers in touch with Matthew Langella, director of his agency's career center, which is hiring 2,000 people for a sports arena currently under construction for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, reports the Daily News.
"If I were in the Nets organization, and I wanted workers who go above and beyond the minimum requirements," Walsh said, "you can't do much better than someone who risked his life."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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